Attention Zoom users! Update your app now if you want to keep using it

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Updated: May 30, 2020 9:01 AM

Attention Zoom users! It’s now mandatory for you to update your app and web client to their latest versions in order to keep using the video calling platform.

zoomWith Zoom 5.0, it is making the switch to AES 256-bit GCM encryption. (Photo credit: Reuters)

Zoom 5.0 is officially rolling for all users starting today. Zoom says it’s a huge update from a privacy and security point of view, a key milestone if you may. One of the big changes that Zoom 5.0 brings along is enhanced encryption, which is why it’s now mandatory for users to update their app and web client to their latest versions in order to keep using the video calling platform.

Previously, Zoom relied on the AES-256 ECB encryption standard. With Zoom 5.0, it is making the switch to AES 256-bit GCM encryption which is theoretically more secure and private than the outgoing standard. This is still not the full-proof end-to-end encryption, the sort that apps like WhatsApp Google Meet offer, but it’s surely a start — for Zoom. GCM encryption will be fully enabled for all meetings starting today, therefore Zoom 5.0 will be a mandatory update to join any Zoom meeting going forward.

Zoom 5.0 brings other privacy-focused features as well. Zoom in fact has been rolling out some of these features gradually over the last few weeks. Zoom has been enabling passwords by default for most users for sometime now, for instance, to curb instances of Zoom bombings. Starting today, all Zoom meetings, webinars, including previously scheduled events will require a password by default.

Also Read Zoom urges users to update app before May 30 as Govt mulls plea for ban over privacy concerns

Zoom 5.0 also brings a new security icon that connects most of its “new” security features together, letting users change them directly from their title screen. From locking meetings to restricting screen sharing to reporting Zoom bombers, enhanced security and privacy will basically be easily accessible for users.

Zoom has been marred with controversy for having failed to do enough to secure its platform, something that became more broadly visible after the cloud-based video calling platform started seeing a “phenomenal” surge in usage in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The Government of India has deemed it unsafe for use. Government officials have been barred from using it. And there’s also a petition in the Supreme Court to ban the app until an appropriate legislation is passed to safeguard users’ privacy.

Zoom 5.0 is surely a big update, but whether or not it would help quell some of the controversy that Zoom has got itself into is something only time would tell. That said, despite multiple red flags, Indians seem to be using Zoom quite actively so to say, since the platform had a record April in the country in terms of downloads. With the platform getting better privacy controls with Zoom 5.0, Zoom would be hoping to pull more users. But more importantly, it would be looking to prove that it’s serious about user privacy, like it keeps saying in statements to the media every now and then.

Also Read EXCLUSIVE: We spoke to Zoom about its privacy issues and how it plans to convince the Govt of India that it’s safe

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